James Street Market, Fortitude Valley, Queensland
Peruse elite fashion labels, sip some heavenly cocktails and dine with the cool crowd in Brisbane’s inner city hot spot Fortitude Valley.
By Silika Boxer
What to expect
- Lose yourself in James Street high-end fashion precinct
- Eat from dawn till dawn (seriously – 2am hunger busters!)
- Become immersed in art, culture and exhibitions
- Time: 2 days
- Distance: 2 kilometres (1.2 miles)
- Transport: walking or car
- Nearest major city: Brisbane
- Price: free to $$$$$
Fast becoming one of the hottest destinations in Brisbane, Fortitude Valley lays claim to a wide variety of dining, shopping, arts and cultural experiences.
Day 1: Feast & shop
Begin the day with a hearty breakfast at King Arthur’s. This little gem is hidden down Arthur Street (hence the name) and given its loyal fanbase, serves amazing coffee and creative dishes that push the boundaries. Walk a couple of hundred metres up to Brunswick Street and visit the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, a place for all things creative, including performances and art gallery installations. Once you’ve soaked up all that culture, head to the top of Ann Street and meander your way hitting stores like Akira and nANA jUDY. Stop off at Bakery Lane to pick up new threads for men at Stock & Supply, flowers and gifts at The Botanist, plus pretty things for the ladies at Bow & Arrow, and if you’re into all things music – check out the vinyl and cassette collection at Phase 4.
Food pit-stop time. Stop in at Winn Lane for a burger and beverage at Ben’s Burgers. Once restored, head towards James Street where the shopping continues, including Australia’s second-only David Jones Boutique Concept Store. You'll also find clothing shops such as Camilla and Sass & Bide, plus a great mix of homewares at West Elm and Pottery Barn, Jardan Furniture and Living Edge. Dinner choices are aplenty in Fortitude Valley, we recommend the street-inspired Asian alley way to LONgTIME. A relaxed, informal Thai eatery that is a standout. Head to Sage Hotel, James Street’s only (and most stylish) hotel to rest and rejuvenate.
Day 2: Downward facing dog and dumpling delights
Join other Yogi’s at Lululemon (on James St) for a free class at 7am or 8.30am. No mat required! A post coffee work-out is a must – there are some seriously good cups to be found in the Valley, with Campos being a local favourite. Graffiti is alive and kicking in Fortitude Valley, and if you know where to look, there are some fabulous surprises. The Brisbane Greeters run bespoke tours – request a (free) 3 hour street art tour of the stories and people behind each. China Town is its own little slice of Asian heaven. Head here for the best yum cha in town at King of Kings, try the steamed pork spare ribs and steamed prawn dumplings. The fried dough sticks in noodle rolls are decadent!
Head to Holey Moley – putt putt (miniature golf) meets cocktail bar set in what used to be a church, then a late-night rave club (go figure?). A cool and seriously fun experience. For dinner we love James Street for its eclectic array of choices, try Gerard’s Bistro, an institution bar none, and they do share platters amazingly well. We all need an ice-cream, and Mr Fitz will not disappoint for a stand out creation. These are GOOD. With a full belly, head onward and outward to the Valley’s nightlife scene you can dance the night away. From salsa, to rock and pop – the Fortitude Valley nightlife does not disappoint.
Make your trip happen